Self-care for writers during Lockdown

The current coronavirus/COVID19 situation has impacted many different parts of people’s lives. It is important that we take care of ourselves and those who are important to us during this time. Currently, this is a global issue and you are not alone in your worries. I want to impart some tips that we can use to stay healthy and connected during this time. This information is echoed in other places, but I wanted to tailor some tips for the literary curios and writers.

You do not need to write your magnum opus during the period of lockdown. I feel this is the most important tip. Many people will say during lockdowns you will have the opportunity to write endlessly and the time to edit until your heart’s content. Often, they will cite William Shakespeare or other writers who created some magnificent works during isolation periods. You do not have to write or complete that novel during this time. It is okay to do a little bit, the same as you were before, or even nothing at all.

Set a schedule and loosely stick to it. Continuing your writing practice will look differently during this time. You may have done it after work, after school or while you were on the train. It is important to accept this difference and allocate time to keep your routine going. Plan out when you will write by starting a calendar and allocating time to the day. Be realistic with it. Try to plan in times that most emulate your writing practice from before. Be flexible with it and let yourself enjoy the practice of writing rather than doing it because you have the mantra of ‘writing everyday.’ To invoke Marie Kondo, if it is not bringing you joy, get rid of it (for that day at least). Alternatively, if writing is difficult for you due to current issues, it is okay to put it to the side and come back to it another time. If you do plan on coming back to it, it is helpful to keep a log or thought journal.

Stay engaged with your leisure activities. If you are reading this, you have accomplished one core leisure activity of a writer’s arsenal which is reading! Make sure you are staying in touch with activities that you do for fun. While writing is fun, sometimes it can also induce stress when we cannot figure out where to go next or finding the right words. Remember to retain writing as a leisure outlet during this time, and frequently attend to hobbies you love to do.

Stay connected with your social circles. While we are physically separate, we are still socially connected through the internet. Check up with friends and family, even share work that you are writing on for feedback. It may provide a nice distraction during this time or provide a shared experience for you both to relate to. Make sure to still connect fellow writers and other readers you relate to on your social medias. Many social groups are moving online and staying connected with your networks is a good way to find places for support.

This will be a stressful time, but it is important we manage the pressures of lockdown through self-care. Throughout my social work degree and training, a big emphasis has been on how we take care of ourselves. If you would like to chat about self-care during this time, @ me on twitter at SeductiveTaco.

This article was originally written for Envie Magazine: https://enviemagazine.com/

Short Story This Friday – ‘The Wall’

A short story originally written in response to Trumps potential presidency. It will be released this Friday and can be read for free at christosfloratos.com

Here is an short excerpt:

Outside the wall, the press lined up tenaciously, all with smiles and pens that had run out of ink. Children licked their Mexican flavoured ice creams as they sat atop their parent’s shoulder’s. Those same parents looked happily ahead.

From Christos Floratos “The Wall”

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A Tissue

By Christos Floratos

A ring-a-fear around the world,

A tissue… a tissue.

No – no more than a pocket full of tissues.

This roll of paper has mummified the world.

Graves aren’t too much of an issue after we’ve curled.

Those black screens show blue, white and black masks.

The Asians, the Asian.

The Italians, the Italian.

From the sky they fall like China Dolls.

From the sky they fall like Golden Crucifixes.

And each piece of broken ceramic and metal can’t resist but to

              enter and violate your nose, throat and your lungs.

We all fall down.

Reach for the tissue – if you have wrestled for one.

Have you fought yet for the toilet king crown?

Only those most fashionably early would have won.

And as they say, beggars can’t be choosers.

Those poor people, once again, are the losers.

A broken hip? A carer who drives you once a week?

Almighty, He would say,

“Give it a go, for you have a go! You are not weak.”

And after the Ashes, and after the ashes.

When tied around our necks are sashes

Where violence would leave unhealable gashes

 Who’d be responsible caring for the sick masses?

Why, surely it would not be I?

For all I would need is a tissue, my guy.

My coughs are incognito as a sigh.

So, who is responsible for the elderly and compromised?

None of us, no doubt.

Consider who are your posies.

What flower shall you use to ward off

              The bland smell of phlegm from your nose.

A water droplet can pass through the tissue.

And one dirty tissue; that is all it takes now,

              To swim through the vastness of people, current, like a riptide.

For your young legs work and you coerce yourself a bow.

              Those unlike you will have a doctor with a gavel by their side.

My Summer Love – Poem to Support Bushfire Relief

My Summer Love‘ is a poem in response to the Australian Bushfires. If you have donated to support Bushfire relief, send me your evidence and details to receive this poem!

Australia is currently suffering the worst bushfire season in recorded history. 15 million hectares of land have been ruined, a conservative number of 1 billion animals have perished and 1000s of homes destroyed and dozens of lives lost to these flames.

These places need your support. If you can, please consider donating at these, or any other Australian Bushfire service, to help support people in need through this humanitarian crisis.

This is not an exhaustive list, but these websites show you different places you could donate to:

https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/bushfire-relief-how-you-can-help-those-in-need/news-story/a0476ac3538b8c373f281ea6be204421

https://help.givenow.com.au/hc/en-us/articles/360001315355-How-you-can-help-Donate-to-2020-Australian-bushfire-relief-efforts

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/australia-bushfires-donate-2020-1

https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/fashion/here-s-where-to-shop-to-help-bushfire-victims-20200107-p53pfo.html

https://www.homestolove.com.au/nsw-bushfires-donate-20869

https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2019/12/how-to-donate-bush-fire/

If you have donated to the Australian Bushfire, one of these links or others, send me evidence such as receipts/proof of donation through the form below and I will send you copy a of a poem I have worked on, called ‘My Summer Love’ which is written in response to the current bushfires.

Please fill out all the boxes below. I will respond back to you with an email you can send the evidence (for the purposes of sending attachments). If email is not your preferred mode of communication, you can also provide your twitter in the text box.

Alternatively, you can contact me on Twitter or Facebook (below) and I will respond to a link with the poem when you have shown me receipts/evidence! This is probably the faster way of going about this process!

Year Reflections – Writing

In this reflection, I talk about my reflection’s fiction short listing, Envie Magazine, and my honours! Its been a great year of writing for me!

Dead Among Us

Dead Among Us is one of my most least-talked about projects but arguably, it is the one that has seen the most growth and development this year. It was shortlisted along with 10 other exicting new writers this year for the Penguin Random House Write It Fellowship. I received some formative feedback that can help shape the series (fantasy-permitting). Even though I did not enter the Final Round, I cleaned up and have some serious ideas moving forward for this novel. It also gave me a ton of motivation and validation regarding my fiction writing.

Thank you to alpha readers for helping giving feedback and supporting me!

Envie Magazine

Previously titled ‘Writing Community Newsletter’, ‘Envie: A Magazine for the Literary Curios’ has been an exciting new opportunity to be able to contribute to that has helped focus my love of writing and also help grow my lovely network of writers. With 6 Articles contributed this year, it has also been a good way to help me reflect on my own craft. My articles focus more on representation, my inner social worker is showing. I am loving being a part of a writing community effort that is designed to help and support fellow writers on twitter!

Thank you to the rest of the staff for being wonderful and providing very many fantastic reads.

Honours – Social Work Student’s Views Towards Same-sex parenting

After completing the initial proposal to my university’s ethics committee, I am now awaiting on my amendments to be accepted before diving into releasing my survey to Australian social work students. Its been an interesting time and my supervisors have been great sources of supports in revising and creating a clear direction for this research. The first semester of 2020 I will be writing the literature review component while also undertaking research and coding of the data that will be collected.

Having such a strong start is making me excited for the future of this research project, and looking forward to publishing into a social work/LGBTQIA+ related journal.

Summary of project at this point: We are investigating the opinions, attitudes, beliefs and views of social work students (in Australia) towards same-sex parenting through a anonymous qualitative survey. Social work students will be the new work force in the coming years and will essentially be encountering same-sex families on the front line. It is crucial to understand what their views are to see if we as a profession are able to meet social work’s social justice paradigm when working with these families.


Thank you for reading this post! Happy New Year! I will be posting my goals post in the coming week! You’ll notice these three only include on fiction piece, which is something I would like to work on moving forward with Christosfloratos.com and Christoast’s Thoughts.

Year Reflections – Poetry

This year has provided an exciting opportunity to be able to share my writing at a official and published capacity. This is the first of my year reflections post, specifically focusing on me thinking about my poetry this year!

Autumn, That Bastard

‘Autumn, That Bastard’ is my first poetry collection that I have publicly shared. This has been a great opportunity to show and have my poetry be read by anyone at anytime. Not all my poetry will be posted like this, but I wanted something that could be read without having to pay because, like my last poem ‘Stagnation’ hints, ‘fuck capitalism.’

Some  notes about the poems:

  • Authenticity – this poem felt like a great introduction to how I feel about stepping into the world of pseudo-published writing. The structure is also different enough from typical poems to generate initial curiosity into the collection.
  • Leviticus – I keep going back to this poem as one of my favourite poems out of this collection. The last line “No questions? No Question.” is something so powerful that I am so happy I produced. 
  • When Winter is expected – Lily’s death is something that I oddly still think about, even though she was a dog. That sentiment of ‘she is more than just a dog’ resonates throughout the poem, as she was an unforgettable part of my life and the least I could do was immortalise her in this poem.
  • Grey House – This poem originally started as a simple song I tried to write in my early learnings of the Saxophone when I was very young. The points of high I capture in the poem (moving to a new apartment) and the points of low (realising it was for the worst) came from me testing the combination of high and low notes.
  • The Apocalypse Cometh – This poem was written way before I even knew who Greta Thunberg was but now that I am aware of so much more regarding climate politics, to the point I think about the state of our world ecologically every day, this poem only strengthens the warnings that our planet is vulnerable.

Check out all the poems here!

Bubbles

Bubbles was a great collection to help support an organisation I very much appreciated. It was interesting centralising six poems over theme that I did not set. This collection, unlike ‘Autumn, That Bastard’, is exclusively available for those who contributed to my fundraising efforts this year as an incentive and thank you in supporting my efforts.

I felt creating a publication for it was very rewarding but also was a big time commitment I did not expect. Dabbling my foot into this design area has given be a better understanding of what I should be doing in future self-publishing endeavours if I choose that route. If I do not end up doing this, it will at least provide a lot of appreciation of how much it must take for an indie author!

Other Poetry Dabbles:

While not posted, I did work on some other poetry not a part of these two collections. These usually were inspired by some worldly event. It let me reflect on how and when I actually start to write poetry – what my drive is and where I am most likely to come up with poetic prose. Not much of this was at home, in fact, a lot of poetry sprung to me when I was on the go or doing something. I found my poetry routine, of sorts, and doing poetry outside these collections reinforced that this art is something I can work on but also isn’t something to be forced.

However, this is a different with my fiction writing where I take a more structured approach, which was very evident in how I prepared for the Write It Fellowship. More about this on my next blog post, reflecting on my other writing endeavours!

Bubbles Update Blog (And Happy Holidays from Christoast!)

Tis the season… to get an update on a poetry collection!

Originally scheduled to release this weekend, ‘Stagnation’ the concluding poem of the ‘Autumn, That Bastard’ Poetry Collection and my commitment to writing an article for Envie took some time cleaning up the publication! However, it is almost complete and will be released on the 27th of December for everyone who donated to the ‘Pen to Paper’ Challenge and for everyone who donated to Extra Life 24 Hour Fundraiser !

If you are interested in obtaining a copy, you can find out more information about Bubbles here!

tl;dr, the collection will only be available during fundraiser events where I am raising money for an NGO-Orginisation or for purposes of social movements. If 2019 is any track record, this will be possibly twice a year! Keep up to date with my publications and events on my social medias here:

It has been an amazing year and I have loved keeping this blog up and running! Thank you to everyone and have a some happy holidays! I hope you enjoy celebrating this time with people that mean a lot to you!

Near future:

  • Two more blog posts by the end of the year. The first will be to talk about Bubbles when it is released and the second one will be a reflection on the year in terms of writing (inc. Autumn, That Bastard and other projects) for this blog/website.
  • In the early new year, expect an update post about future plans for the website and my own projects.

See you soon!

Stagnation

Website Version Here

By Christos Floratos

It is that time, again.

To wait for it to all end.

This waiting is a crux –

A crutch and a lux,

Spread thin over the fortnight’s influx.

 

This money system has left me bitter,

A tea that has long overstayed.

Corrupted green that has mixed with the soil,

Auburn turns black to brown, to a prodded boil,

Where the honey at the end would always spoil.

 

I am curious to their appraisals,

That my life is through a proverbial spring.

I may have all the bricks lined on the frontier,

But I confess, it is not yet veneer.

Stagnation has taken my masonry’s finest, oh dear.

 

It is all an arbitrary collection of bricks and stones,

For Autumn and Spring don’t exist.

It is the eternal summers and winters I chase.

For even though those bricks are lined, houses are placed

No residence could save me from ash encase.

 

No, I am most definitely in the fall.

Yet defiantly, death and dying is not what I feel.

I am warmed by the sun’s rays and adore the hearth.

Though daises are no longer pushing a girth,

This uncertainty is what lulls me to the earth.

 

I don’t dread Autumn, for it is going,

But because I know it will arrive again.

White horse with black hooves trampling the ground

And there is discovery in it yet against the sound.

For waiting has christened my crown.

 

Nothingness has become my favourite companion.

It is they, that lonesome path to permanence.

At the end nought could be done to amend

Except for you, reader, who has provided an ear on lend.

Perhaps the wait will be indefinite – these words need to be tend.

 

Autumn will be that bastard.

And we will never be through.

We will remain along this cursed line

These cheap words and rhymes, they will be just fine.

These horrible thoughts will be paid through the halt of a lifeline.

© Christos Floratos 2019

Stagnation – Sneak Peek

The concluding poem for the ‘Autumn, That Bastard’ Poetry Collection comes out this Friday!

Stagnation, like the wait/hiatus from the penultimate poem, is meant to capture the feelings of indefinite waiting and down trodden celebrations.